Yes, Elizabeth Barrett Anderson is still Guam’s attorney general. No, she’s hasn’t quit to become a grant counselor helping struggling state siders win millions of dollars in free money. As farfetched as it may sound, a scam Facebook page appears to be fooling some, but not all.
Guam – Island residents know her well as a former senator and judge, and as the island’s current AG. So what’s she doing moonlighting as a grant attorney for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on Facebook? She’s not.
A statement from the Attorney General herself cleared that up late Tuesday morning.
“Even an Attorney General is susceptible to identity theft. Fortunately, the people of Guam know who I am. Unfortunately, outside of Guam this scam might appear very enticing to victims looking to win fast money.
“We have reported the scam to FACEBOOK, and requested that it be shut down immediately. We have also informed the National Association of Attorneys General to be on the watch for similar scams. I plan to search my name more often on the Internet.”
—Attorney General Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson
At first glance, the site is compelling, with photos of winners receiving checks as high as $100,000 – even a million dollars! Complete with directions on how to get your grant.
Just private message Liz, or text a long distance number in St. Louis to get the process started. The page even warns, once approved, keep the details to yourself, to avoid third parties claiming your grant behind your back before you pay the “case file” and “clearance” fees.
And you don’t have to scroll far to find the disappointment. A Facebook commenter named Georgia Prunty writes:
“Scam! Do not apply. I paid her $2,000 in fees in June and still haven’t gotten grant money. And she wants a return fee of $200 to send my own money that she scammed me out of! Used the Lord’s name to make promises she didn’t follow through on.”
But even for those who miss the scam comments, or those who don’t know Elizabeth from Eve, the Facebook page drops subtler clues suggesting an equation that doesn’t add up. A photo of Small Business Administration awardees from Guam. A random picture OF U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao pointing to a grant agreement? Okaayy…let’s see…lots of commercial photos of happy customers receiving packages from friendly deliverymen. Yeah, you’d be smiling too if someone just handed you—what—a boxful of cash?
If would-be prey can calm their excitement long enough to dig just a little deeper, they might discover enough to give them pause before wiring over the money. A quick search engine browse reveals that Elizabeth Barrett Anderson is the elected Attorney General of Guam. Although she’s already announced she isn’t running again, she’s yet to reveal she’s sidelining for Bill and Melinda, much less the International Development Association, or the United States Government. The fake Facebook account says she’s working for the foundation, the association, and Uncle Sam—and, apparently, has a second home in Williston, Florida, even though the job with IDA is in Tamuning and the federal gig is in Washington, D.C. Perhaps she’s telecommuting, but probably not.
Postscript: PNC chatted up International Development Association on its listed text-in number to get the grant process started. The respondent confirmed themselves to be none other than Elizabeth Barrett Anderson, “IDA, IFC Grant Director”. The purported Grant Director said, “You have to be honest and trustworthy with me, so that I can help you to get your grant and you will have to fill some information now, so that we can proceed.”
PNC had gathered that IDA stands for International Development Association, but had to ask what IFC stands for. The Grant Director texted back, “International Financial Development”. Nervous, distracted, or guilty?